Alan Dixon to resign from Evans Dixon

Alan Dixon to resign from Evans Dixon

Former Evans Dixon (ASX: ED1) CEO Alan Dixon (pictured) will step down from the company's executive after a short-lived attempt to turn the group's struggling US fund around.

Dixon resigned from his CEO role at the financial services group in June in order to focus on the US Masters Residential Property Fund (ASX: URF), but in August it was revealed he had decided to take an extended leave of absence for personal reasons.

When URF's half-year results were released later that month they showed net operating losses had dropped 769 per cent to $47.6 million.

Now more than two months in to his leave, ED1 has confirmed Dixon will soon only be acting as a non-executive director and will not seek director fees from this ongoing role.

"Evans Dixon Limited (ASX code: ED1) today announced that Alan Dixon, having recently taken extended leave from the business, has advised the Board that he is permanently stepping down from his Executive duties, effective 31 October 2019," the company said yesterday after the market closed.

"Mr Dixon will forgo part of his bonus for the 6 month period to December 2019 and instead receive A$280,000."

The fund has fallen from grace since it was formed through the merger of Evans & Partners with Dixon Advisory in February 2017. When it listed in May 2018 shares were trading at close to $2.60 each but now they are worth less than $0.80.

ED1 shares went into freefall in May after an EBITDA forecast of $35-38 million was made for FY19, compared to a profit of $50.1 million in FY18.

The group's underlying EBITDA did fall within that range at $37.1 million along with a statutory net profit after tax (NPAT) of !6.8 million, down 13 per cent year-on-year.

Executive chairman David Evans was acting in the CEO position after Dixon jumped across to the US business, and in July the company decided on restructuring expert Peter Anderson of McGrath Nicol fame to take on the challenge. 

"I have been impressed by the quality of Evans Dixon's people and their attention to the clients ofthe business," Anderson said in ED1's results announcement on 26 August.

"This solid base gives me great confidence that we can build great strength and improved profitability."

He said the group was in the process of completing an operational review to find areas where improvements could be made and efficiencies gained gained.

"Principally, we have identified an opportunity to better integrate the component businesses and to achieve the economies of scale offered by bringing three financial services businesses together.

"We are aware that work is required to rebuild investor confidence, but the staff of Evans Dixon are determined to meet the challenge."

Based on cost reduction initiatives and business activity levels, Evans Dixon expects a better year-on-year performance for the second half of the 2019 calendar year, with an FY20 result broadly in line with FY19.

"We have grown our client numbers, funds under management and advice have increased, we have gained market share in institutional equities trading and the addition of Fort Street Advisers has greatly enhanced the proposition of the firm for corporate Australia," executive chairman David Evans said in August.

"However, reduced transaction activity, fewer capital raisings for new Funds Management investment strategies and increased corporate costs have led to lower Group earnings.

"More broadly, as the financial services industry evolves, we recognise the importance of our business responding to the changes to ensure we remain at the forefront of financial services in Australia.

"Relationships and the culture of client centricity are at the heart of our business and serving our clients goes hand-in-hand with strengthening the business for the future."

After Dixon stepped away from the US business, co-chief financial officer Kevin McAvey and general counsel Brian Disler were appointed co-heads of the business responsible for operations.

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